Minister responds to ferry fare increase proposal concerns

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Concerns over a proposal to increase ferry fares on peak time services have been raised by Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron.

The proposal is contained in the SNP Government’s Scottish Ferries Plan, as one of several proposals to ease passenger and vehicle congestion put forward in the document which maps out the future of Scotland’s ferry services until 2022.

However, the idea has been criticised by local communities across the Highlands and Islands, with some fearing that it could discourage people from living and working in Scotland’s island communities in particular.

Last week in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Cameron asked Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse to give assurances that local people across the region would not be impacted.

Mr Wheelhouse responded: “We recognise the concern that users of lifeline ferry services have about accessibility to services when they need them.”

He added he would be happy to meet Mr Cameron to discuss his concerns .

Mr Cameron MSP said following the exchange: “There has been huge concern across island communities including Bute about this particular proposal found in the SNP’s ferries plan, and the minister did not adequately address the very significant worries which local residents have about the issue.

“At a time when the high cost of living remains a real threat to population levels in our island communities, the last thing we need are hikes in fares on lifeline ferry services.”